diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

 Subscribe in a reader

Recent Interviews

diskant Staff Sites

More Sites We Like

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #18

Posted: October 24th, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted February 2004)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

Looks like it might be time for another column – all the signs are falling into place: a parcel of review goodies turned up from the boss this morning, I’ve got the day off work, and it is currently blizzarding outside to an extent that makes me think not only that there’s no way I’m leaving my house at the moment, but also that I may never leave the house again. So here I sit in my warm reviewing chamber, cup of coffee before me, with a pile of stuff to tell you about. This column’s theme? Here’s a load of records and CDs which I’ve bought and which I’ve been sent to review. What a concept, eh?

Füxa We could be together (7″, The Great Pop Supplement gps06)
Kinski I guess I’m falling in love (7″, The Great Pop Supplement gps07)
The latest two releases from the wonderful Great Pop Supplement, the label dedicated to releasing beautifully packaged, carefully chosen, stupidly limited (111 copies per release) records. Füxa offer two mellow, melodic and warm dreampop songs, which almost sound like two halves of the same ‘piece’. A trumpet plays out vocal-style melodies over sleepy, pleasant backdrops, and the general feeling created, to place it in the current meteorological context, is one of a warm sweater and a log fire to counter the freezing conditions outside. Kinski’s record is wrapped in a hand-sprayed silver foil sleeve, which is most attractive. Strange tunes these ones; ‘I guess I’m falling in love’ is a low fidelity, simplistic and repetitive barre chord-workout which falls somewhere in between drone rock heaven and ‘first band’ nervousness. Like Stereolab, aged seventeen, playing Stooges covers in a rehearsal room. Or something. However, flipside ‘Hiding drugs in the temple’ is the sound of a warped tape playing at the wrong speed. Seriously – that’s it. Not meaning to sound old or out of touch, but is it supposed to sound like that?

Highspire Your everything (CD, Alison Records AL012)
Strange how ‘shoegazing’ lives on in America and parts of Europe, long after it fizzled out in Britain. Highspire live in a world where Ride, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine are the cutting edge, the now, the absolute inspiration. Admittedly, that’s not such a bad world to find yourself in, but I find it slightly strange. Things have moved on. I do still (often) listen to those bands, but Highspire seem intent on recreating their sounds as accurately as possible. So, there are detached, dreamy Mark Gardener-style vocals, groovy wandering basslines a la Telescopes, and the obligatory swathes of effect box guitar noise all over this album. And of course, it’s a fantastic listen, and transports me to a chemically-enhanced world of half-awake bliss, but the sound is so closely derived from the classic shoegaze bands that I’m hard pushed to find true sparks of originality here. Highspire sadly seem too in awe of the past to become a genuine inspiration for the future.

Hey Colossus Hates you and you and you and… (LP, Jonson Family Records jfr14)
The deranged ‘other band’ of Ian Scanlon from cheeky popsters Econoline, Hey Colossus are heavy-as-fuck guitar mayhem, all man-size riffs, throat-scorching vocals and we’re-louder-than-you attitude. Whether they are serious or not is almost unimportant, as they’ve undeniably captured that stoner rock sound and feel. Stick this record on loud and you can’t help but picture Big Rock Concerts with legs-spread-wide guitarists effortlessly ploughing through sludgy, angry songs. I love this because it lets me recall the youth I never spent listening to Black Sabbath and Guns’n’Roses – reference points here are somewhat beyond me, I have to admit…), whilst staying in touch with the newer aggro-rock bands I’ve enjoyed recently. Magnificent!

Logan Love, said gas (CD, Psychotica Records PSY001)
It’d be easy to write Logan off as ‘the Italian Shellac’, what with their Weston-sounding basslines, tight structure and stabs of aggressive guitar. They’ve obviously put a certain amount of time and effort into capturing that particular kind of sound, but they do it very well indeed. It might not be the most original thing in the world – there are a lot of bands looking to Mr Albini for inspiration in one way or another. I’ve always thought, though, that if you’re going to draw obvious inspiration from somewhere, you may as well make it somewhere decent. The worst Shellac-inspired band will always be better than the best Shed Seven-inspired band, for example. Anyway, it’s not even like Logan are like a completely copyist band – they inject some of their own flavour into their music. The pained vocals and a tendency toward more Fugazi-style noiseout passages give a pleasingly diverse range to the songs here. Not particularly the most originally diverse range, but you have to be honest – how much music is truly original these days?

Various artists Good Vibrations: Bedroom Ambience 4 (CD, Enraptured Records RAPTCD40)
Always difficult reviewing compilations – there are generally two ways to go about it. First, go through the whole thing track by track, describing each band’s contribution individually. Second, attempt to sum up the ‘feel’ of the package whilst touching on a few choice contributors. I’m opting for the second option here. This is the fourth of these Enraptured compilations, and is different to the preceding three in that the flow of tracks is separated by segments of a very interesting interview with Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples, which sounds as if it was recorded on Mars, what with the strange swooping sound effects constantly burbling away in the background. But what of the music? Well, any purchaser of previous Enraptured releases should know the score – repetitive, positive-sounding, well-recorded slices of acoustic electronica (to coin, perhaps, a new phrase). It’s generally good stuff, with the odd foray into strangely lame-sounding pseudo-hippy trance nonsense (David J Duckworth and Hyperex Machina, for example), but there are particular highlights with The Workhouse (layered, chiming guitar warmth) and Ojn (mantra-like repetition of cheeky electronic phrases). The complete lineup of the compilation is Monokini, Ampop, Special Benny, Ninja Mind Control, Sunray, David J Duckworth, Hyperex Machinea, The Workhouse, Silver Apples, The Exile, Data 70, Ramp and Ojn. Oh, and the booklet that comes with the CD is great, it’s got further information on all of the bands.

Charalambides Unknown spin (CD, Kranky krank061)
Charalambides appear to live in a strange, separated world, on the basis of this recording. Four tracks make up the hour-long running time, and the overall atmosphere is one of heavily stoned introspection, with aspects of fear and bliss alternately – and slowly – creeping through the mind. At times this sounds like the slower, more abstract parts of Sonic Youth’s Bad Moon Rising timestretched to around one-twentieth of normal speed. At times it sounds like parts of the, er, ‘trippier’ end of some late-60s psychedelia (Country Joe & The Fish, The Calico Wall) – but again, dropped to a fraction of the speed. Listen to this in the background and it won’t do much for you; you’ll only occasionally remember that you’re listening to music. However, give it your full attention – try and get a hold on the scraped strings, delicately picked guitar lines and ghostly vocal tones – and this album can send you into a deeply beautiful and textured trance.

Further Information
Füxa / Kinski / The Great Pop Supplement
Highspire / Alison Records
Hey Colossus / Jonson Family Records
Logan / Psychotica Records
Enraptured Records
Charalambides / Kranky

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


Comments are closed.